Once upon a time we were all hungry for people to follow and subscribe to our social media channels. We would religiously link our sites to each other to make sure that there was maximum visibility and we would even send individual requests to our friends (and even strangers) to follow or subscribe to our Instagram accounts, YouTube channels and whatnot.

While many of us have different methods on why we prefer one over the other, I would like to share in this article why – especially for someone who is thinking of starting something on an online platform – attracting more “Likes” can be more beneficial than pulling in a swarm of “Followers”.

  1. The Active Audience – in a previous post, I mentioned that trying to get your message across on the internet is like yelling in a sea of people. I recall that commencement speech by Neil Gaiman to the graduates of the University of Arts in Philadelphia:


A freelance life, a life in the arts, is sometimes like putting messages in bottles, on a desert island, and hoping that someone will find one of your bottles and open it and read it, and put something in a bottle that will wash its way back to you: appreciation, or a commission, or money, or love. And you have to accept that you may put out a hundred things for every bottle that winds up coming back.

Creating online content is very similar. You make your content or share your idea and eventually something comes back in the form of a “Like” or a “Comment” and you repeat the process. Your content made an impression. This shows that there are people actively listening and it is to those active listeners that you should spend your time creating for. You need only ask, out of the hundreds of thousands of followers you may have, how many of them are actively engaging with your content?

  1. Don’t Panic. It’s Going to be Organic – to anyone who has worked in advertising and marketing, you all know that gaining an organic audience for a campaign in a short amount of time is quite impossible, but not improbable. Basically, an “organic” follower is an account that is managed by a real person that lives and breathes. “Inorganic” followers or accounts can easily be spotted by their strange usernames or lack of content and are usually bought.


A lot of people who make a decent living creating online content vilify this practice. Attracting organic followers rely heavily on the quality of your content but it is essential. The more interesting and engaging your content becomes (i.e. through comments, shares, and “Likes”), the bigger your chance of attracting people to check out your account and subscribing to it.


  1. You Are Your Content, Not How Many Followers You Have – if people like a photograph you posted or a video you made, then, chances are, they will want to know about the person who made it. Avoid the celebrity trap of having a million followers but with very little quality to your content to show. Remember, whatever your chosen platform online, you are still, basically, communicating. Put it in the context of real life: no one really wants to hear about how many friends you have or who they are. People are more interested in the stories you have.


Now that you have an idea on why preferring “Likes” over “Followers” can do you more good, get out there and make amazing content and tell good stories. Get yourself heard by what you can do and not who you know. To borrow a line from Field of Dreams, “If you build it they will come.”


Share more of your insight on this on the comments below!


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